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Democracy in the Uk

  • Date Submitted: 11/17/2010 12:43 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 53.9 
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How Democratic is the UK?

Britain, amongst many other countries, claims to be a democracy. Such a claim would suggest that as UK citizens, we have effective influence over government, and over decisions that effect us. However, there has been much controversy over this claim, some arguing that power lies in the hands of just a few, and others standing by the allegation that power in the UK is widely distributed. In this essay, I will be discussing matters such as elections and the influence of the media to clarify just how democratic the UK really is.

One of they key features of a democracy is that the people have the ability to vote whoever they want, a privilege which we as citizens of the UK have. Nonetheless, there is still a large amount of dispute as to whether the voting system in the UK is truly democratic. At UK general elections, we use an electoral system most commonly known as first past the post. This means that to become a member of parliament, all a candidate has to do is gain more votes than any rival in that constituency. Although this system has many strengths, such as the fact that it is simple to understand and that it ultimately represents the views of the people, it also faces many weaknesses. For one, the system provides a lack of choice. There is also a mass of wasted votes, as some seats are so ‘safe’, that there is no point in voting. Liberal democrat leader, Nick Clegg, announced at a party conference meeting: “First past the post is not fit for purpose. It is a relic that deserves to be consigned to the past.”

An electoral system seen to be much fairer and much more democratic than our current system, is the single transferable vote (STV), which is currently being used in Scottish local government elections. Using the STV, parties can stand more than one candidate, who are then ranked in order of preference by the voters. Although this system is a little more complicated, it is one of the most proportionate systems,...

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